It’s been a long time coming for Yushin Okami, but he will finally get his title shot.
In the main event of UFC 122, Okami defeated Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision to position himself as the No. 1 contender to face the winner of the upcoming title fight between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Okami is known for having a stifling style that can take almost any fighter out of their game, and he did that once again to Marquardt on Saturday. Time and time again, Okami pushed forward with his lead punch then moved in for the clinch.
It looked like Marquardt was trying to counter the Japanese middleweight, but just couldn’t connect with the perfect punch to put his lights out. The biggest struggle throughout the fight for Marquardt was getting his timing right and not throwing much in the way of combinations without having Okami grab hold of him like glue.
Okami spent the majority of the fight doing exactly what Okami does to most of his opponents. He simply frustrated Marquardt and never let the former King of Pancrase have any breathing room to open up his offense.
Regardless of Okami’s style, Marquardt did have his moments and in the third round of a close fight he snatched a quick takedown to possibly sway the judges with just minutes remaining. Okami popped right back up again, and believes it didn’t play into the decision at all.
“I didn’t take any damage so I didn’t think much of it, but I’m glad I won the fight,” Okami commented about the takedown in the third round.
The judges all agreed after the final horn sounded giving Yushin Okami the unanimous decision win, and now positioning him as the top contender for the UFC middleweight belt.
“Nate was a great fighter, I thought I deserved it and I’m ready for the championship,” Okami said after his hand was raised.
Okami’s record currently reads that he has the last win over UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, albeit from a disqualification in their 2006 fight. Since that time, Okami has been gunning for a chance to finish what they started in Hawaii several years ago. Silva still has to get past Vitor Belfort in February, but Okami put up no illusions about whom he wanted to fight with the gold on the line.
“I want to fight Anderson for the championship,” Okami stated. “I want to become the middleweight champion.”